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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Keegan

‘Lockdown’ Brown says KU looks all sped up

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Any prediction as to which potential star will develop into the Most Valuable Player on the 2011 Kansas University football team is no easy task.

The MVP likely but won’t necessarily come from the pool of the following dozen, listed in alphabetical order: wide receiver D.J. Beshears, tight end Tim Biere, cornerback Greg Brown, center Jeremiah Hatch, inside linebacker Steven Johnson, safety Bradley McDougald, running back Darrian Miller, defensive end/outside linebacker Toben Opurum, receiver Daymond Patterson, running back James Sims, safety Keeston Terry, and inside linebacker Darius Willis.

As for the best nickname on the roster, that’s no contest.

Greg “Lockdown” Brown has that distinction locked down. A coach at powerhouse Cedar Hill High in Texas pinned the moniker on him his junior year in high school, when the team won the state title. As a KU starter the last five games of 2010, Brown started to show he had the potential to develop into that rare commodity: a lockdown cornerback. As a bonus, he loves to hit, as he proved with 10 tackles against Nebraska.

Lockdown Brown. Nice ring to it.

“It’s a good sound,” Brown agreed. “I like it. I try to go by it, and if I try to go by it, I have to live up to it. It can’t be just all talk.”

Aside from speed and agility, confidence ranks as a cornerback’s most vital asset. By not running from such an aggressive nickname, Brown has set high expectations for himself. He embraces the challenge of taking on the long, strong, fleet receivers that come his way every week in the Big 12. Cornerbacks can’t play scared, can’t let giving up one big play shake them in a way that leads to a confidence crisis.

A productive special-teams player as well, Brown quickly is mentioned in any conversation about the team’s fastest players. He knows speed when he sees it and insists that all this talk about a faster team than a year ago has substance.

“The recruiting class that came in, they can run,” Brown said. “And I see a lot more quickness out of our defense, the linebacker corps, the secondary, even the D-line is running to the football. Much faster defense this year.”

Specifically, who looks faster?

“Toben Opurum looks fast,” Brown said.

That makes sense. During a sophomore season packed with position changes, Opurum had to think a lot, which inevitably results in hesitating. Now that his defensive mind has advanced, his speed is showing.

“Steven Johnson and Darius Willis, our inside linebackers, give us more speed as a defense,” said Brown, a junior in his fourth year in the program. “You don’t really see middle linebackers moving fast. These guys are moving fast to the ball.”

Who else?

“We have the fastest linebacker corps since I’ve been here,” Brown said. “Tunde Bakare, he’s real fast. Huldon Tharp, when he comes in, he looks fast. Prinz Kande, he’s undersized, but he’s a fast linebacker.”

Lack of speed ranked as the No. 1 factor in last season’s blowout losses. It takes more than getting faster to turn a 3-9 team into a winner, but it’s a nice place to start.

Comments

troutsee 2 years, 8 months ago

If Webb is much improved and has a good year, look out last place prognosticaors. I think Webb is ready to play this year. If so, surprises may abound.

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Kevin Studer 2 years, 8 months ago

I want improvement. This team is not going to a bowl game.

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Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 8 months ago

anything above four wins would be a "success." and four wins would be a one game improvement over the previous season. a 4-8 record is not a good season...but the measuring stick has to be lowered, considering the type of transition we've gone through.

i remeber the 2004 team...we we just coming off the bowl season, but our defense wasn't very good, and Whittemore was gone. but in that first game vs. Tulsa, you could tell our defense was a LOT better...and we beat 'em 21-3. we ended up 2-6 in the league (but the Ws were KSU and MU) and 4-7 overall...but we were much more competitive in the games.

we played UT to the end (dollar signs) played NU really tough, should have beat ISU. that team passed the "eye test" in that you knew we were turning the corner to being a good football team.

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kycamp0 2 years, 8 months ago

I didn't know that about Ga Tech so yeah I could def see us winning that one esp with the style that Ga Tech plays. If we can stay close in some of these games we'll pull off a couple upsets so I think a 4-6 win season is a realistic expectation.

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kycamp0 2 years, 8 months ago

Here's how I see the schedule shaping up:

Sept. 3 NcNeese State W Sept. 10 Northern Illinois W Sept. 17 at Georgia Tech L (possible revenge game but I think it'll be close) Sept. 24 Bye Week Oct. 1 Texas Tech W (I expect a win on Homecoming weekend) Oct. 8 at Oklahoma State L Oct. 15 Oklahoma L (it'll be awhile before we can compete with OU) Oct. 22 Kansas State W (I expect KU to avenge last year's blow out loss) Oct. 29 at Texas L (probably a loss but you never know) Nov. 5 at Iowa State L (KU probably loses against an improved team) Nov. 12 Baylor L (expecting a loss but this could be an upset) Nov. 19 at Texas A&M L Nov. 26 vs. Missouri L (you never know in a rivalry game)

So this would make us 4-8 and I would take it. If we can improve by one win a year, I would consider that a success but I will remain optomistic until I see the product on the field. I think the key games will be the first two because we will be expected to win those. The other key games are going to be Texas Tech, Kansas State,at Texas, at Iowa State, Baylor, and Missouri. If we can go 3-3 in those games and pull off a few upsets that would put us at 5-7 and I think that would an incredible accomplishment. Looking forward to game 1 though and hope we see a ball control offensive slow the other teams down and take them out of their game plan.

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TheGiftedOne 2 years, 8 months ago

I want to be as positive as the next guy...but this team just won't be that good. They might be able to steal a bowl bid if they can take care of business but anyone who thinks they can content is in dreamland. Apherse is obviously trying to tick people off but he is right on the money. Im sure Willis will be a great player but this defense is straight up UNDERSIZED. That needs to change before we can contend. We start off Texas Tech, Oklahoma St., and Oklahoma in conference. Its not Gill's fault that this schedule is so brutal but people shouldn't get too excited for the wins this year. As always I want to see how everyone progresses because I'm a Jayhawk fan but this team will most likely start 2-4 (0-3)...just don't expect too much.

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Chris Bailey 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm still shocked Keegan has written two positive articles in a row about KU Football! WOW! Way to go TOM!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 8 months ago

Those fast linebackers are a transfer from Buffalo and a late signee from Highland Community College. Excuse me if I'm a little skeptical about them competing at the big12 level.

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fan4kufootball 2 years, 8 months ago

Play hard and play with passion guys! Can't wait for the games to begin!

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100 2 years, 8 months ago

Speeeeeeeeeed!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep bringin' 'em in Coach Gill!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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